The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday that some 7.6 million children are out of school in Ethiopia as the country encounters natural and manmade calamities.
The agency, in its latest Ethiopia humanitarian situation report, said that the ongoing conflict in different parts of the East African country is negatively contributing to children’s access to education.
“The ongoing conflicts in Amhara and Oromia have significantly contributed to an increase in children dropping out of school. Altogether, there are 7.6 million out-of-school children across Ethiopia,” it said.
It said the ongoing conflict in the Amhara region remains tense and volatile as movement restrictions remain in place, leading to ongoing difficulties in the provision of humanitarian assistance.
UNICEF, citing the Amhara regional education bureau, said that 28 schools in different parts of the troubled region were reportedly damaged and looted due to the conflict, posing a challenge to the resumption of education for the academic year.
Additionally, 254 schools were reportedly damaged due to heavy rain, windstorms, and flooding in other parts of the region, affecting over 92,600 children.
Meanwhile, UNICEF warned that funding shortfall is hampering its humanitarian response in Ethiopia amid mounting humanitarian needs across the country.
According to UNICEF, its 674.3-million-U.S.-dollar Humanitarian Action for Children 2023 Appeal for Ethiopia remains 72 percent unfunded, as humanitarian needs persist among vulnerable populations across the country, particularly those in hard-to-reach locations.
“UNICEF continues to appeal for critical funding to meet the humanitarian needs of children, adolescents, women, and men in Ethiopia,” it said.